Today is International Mentoring Day, and two of our Durham MBA graduates have shared with us why they decided to become mentors to our current cohort, giving up time to help our students excel.
Each year, alongside their programme, our Durham MBA (Full-time) students are offered the support of a mentor to help them navigate the demands of MBA study and prepare for the transition to the workplace.
Our alumni team match current students with volunteer mentors from our fantastic pool of alumni and business communities. Most of our mentors are Durham MBA graduates and are matched up based on their professional interests.
Paul has mentored two MBA students. During his time as mentor, he has helped his mentees find the right study balance to do sufficient work without drilling excessively because they find the subject so interesting.
While mentors also help orient MBA graduates in the real world, Paul describes it more as helping to ask the right questions or pointing students in the right direction, rather than trying to be an expert yourself, similar to someone in a Non-Executive Director or trustee role. Paul shared how he keeps all his MBA notes within a few feet of him in his office and continues to refer back to them, saying: "I thoroughly enjoyed my time doing my MBA – it never leaves you. That ongoing association with the School is valuable, as well as supporting those who are treading the same path as you’ve done previously - that’s rewarding in itself.
There were times doing the MBA when you feel you’re sinking under the workload, so being able to pass on some of your own experience or where you went for help is rewarding. For the commitment of an hour or so, on a call roughly once a month, the return on investment in terms of satisfaction makes it easy to say I’ll do it again next year."
Claire has been a Durham MBA mentor for a number of years and enjoys working with the Durham team and supporting our MBA students on their learning journeys and ongoing professional development, saying: "MBA mentoring is a great way to contribute to the development of current MBA students and a super way to stay connected, as an alumnus, both to current international business thinking and to the Business School."
Professor Amir Michael, Associate Dean of MBA and DBA programmes said: "Our MBA mentors help, support and provide a flavour of the world of practice, i.e. what the challenges are in the workplace currently.
Mentors play a vital role - they can help students change their mindset or see the progress they need to make, especially those looking to change sectors. Mentors provide both networking opportunities and external reflection as students journey through the programme and develop their post-graduation plans."